Saturday, June 19, 2021

ERC event preview: Rally Hungary

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What became one of the most challenging rounds of the FIA European Rally Championship when it joined the ERC schedule for the first time last season is back to test crews and thrill fans.

Rally Hungary, round four of the all-action 2020 ERC from November 6-8, will be open to spectators on certain sections of the route, providing they follow strict social distancing and hygiene rules. However, access to the service park will be restricted to teams, drivers and suppliers in accordance with the strict protocol mandated by the FIA, motorsport’s world governing body.

With visits to some locations allowed, fans will get to watch some of Europe’s best rally drivers in action on tough and demanding sealed-surface stages north-west of host city Nyíregyháza in close proximity to Hungary’s border with Slovakia.

More than 30 top-of-the-range Rally2 cars appear on the entry list, which includes 44 drivers eligible for ERC points. As well as the outright victory chase, there will be top honours awarded in ERC2, ERC3, ERC1 Junior, ERC3 Junior and the Abarth Rally Cup.

In addition to top international names such as Yoann Bonato, Craig Breen, Nikolay Gryazin, Alexey Lukyanuk and Andreas Mikkelsen, a host of rapid Hungarian drivers will be in action. They include four-time national champion Norbert Herczig, a double ERC podium finisher for MOL Racing Team, twice ERC2 champion Tibor Érdi Jr and Ferenc Vincze Jr, who is one point ahead of Ádám Velenczei in his bid to defend the Hungarian title he won for the first time last season.

The popularity of ERC2 is underlined by a seven-strong entry, which is headed by joint title leaders Érdi Jr and Zelindo Melegari. Meanwhile, a season-high four Abarth Rally Cup drivers, such as Andrea Mabellini and Martin Rada, will also chase ERC2 points.

With Rally Hungary part of the ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior schedules for the first time, several young drivers aiming to prove their talent will assemble in Nyíregyháza. Oliver Solberg, Grégoire Munster and Emil Lindholm from ERC1 Junior and ERC3 Junior drivers Ken Torn, Pep Bassas and Amaury Molle are just some of the rising stars in action in the Pirelli-supported class.

Rally Hungary is made up of 16 stages over a competitive distance of 191.06 kilometres. Because of the requirement for ERC events to be run within a four-day period under new rules for 2020, event organisers have not been able to schedule free practice, qualifying or shakedown due to the limited time available. Therefore, the Friday evening run through the Rabócsiring rallycross track, venue of the 2.4-kilometre SS1, will mark the first opportunity for drivers unable to test in the build-up to the event to drive in anger.


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